Has the pandemic permanently reduced the workforce?

The pandemic is still depressing the size of the labour force in many developed countries. This probably reflects a mixture of temporary and permanent factors, so some of it may yet be reversed. But even if the bulk of the reduction in the labour force persists, this does not alter the big picture that the overall lasting damage to economies’ supply capacity has been limited considering the scale of the downturn.
Vicky Redwood Senior Economic Adviser
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Global Economics Focus

Will labour shortages spur productivity gains?

One possible upside of the current labour market shortages in developed economies is that they could push firms towards expanding output by raising investment and productivity instead of relying on cheap labour. However, any gains in productivity may not materialise quickly enough to prevent central banks from reacting to the pick-up in wage growth. In view of the wider interest, we have also made this Global Economics Focus available to clients of our Long Run Service.

2 December 2021

Global Economics Update

PMIs show some signs of supply shortages easing

November’s manufacturing PMIs suggest that global industrial production has continued to expand, albeit at a slower pace than earlier this year. There are tentative signs that supply disruptions may be easing, but from a very strained starting point, and virus developments may cause a renewed deterioration soon.

1 December 2021

Global Economics Update

Renewed restrictions: inflationary or disinflationary?

If Omicron turns out to be malign enough to prompt tighter restrictions, we suspect that the net result would initially be for inflation to be lower than otherwise. But by worsening product and potentially labour shortages, restrictions on household activity could end up keeping inflation above targets for longer.

1 December 2021

More from Vicky Redwood

Global Economics Update

Economies after COVID: one year on

It is a year since we published our “Economies after COVID” series, so now seems like a good time to pause and take stock of how our predictions about the legacy of the pandemic are shaping up. There is a still a long way to go until the pandemic’s full effects can be judged, not least because the pandemic is not even over yet; only a few countries are at the point of transitioning to treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease. But, so far, it is looking like we were right to judge that the legacy of the pandemic would be found in broader issues like consumer behaviour and globalisation, rather than narrow measures of GDP.

8 October 2021

Global Economics Focus

Is stagflation-lite the start of something more serious?

With supply shortages set to persist for the next 6 to 12 months, the current period of “stagflation-lite” will persist a while longer. But it is likely to remain a pale imitation of the 1970s stagflation episode. Meanwhile, we do not share the pessimism of those who think that the current supply shortages are just one of a series of stagflationary shocks likely to hit the economy in the coming years.

7 October 2021

Global Economics Update

Is the rise in house prices becoming a concern?

It is an under-statement to say that house prices have weathered the pandemic well; housing markets are positively booming. Yet the drivers of this rise in prices are rather different to those of the pre-2007 housing boom, meaning that we do not seem to be heading for a repeat of the housing-driven financial crisis of 2007/08. Nonetheless, there are pockets of concern, and we would get more worried if it looked like interest rates were about to rise sharply.

28 September 2021
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